Tuesday, February 7, 2012
The New York Times addresses lockout fees and other reader questions:
Q: I got locked out of my unit while moving, and the landlady had her nephew come by to let me in. Now she is charging me a $50 “lockout fee.” The fee isn’t allowed for in the lease, so can she collect it? I’d rather give her a box of chocolates and a “thank you” card.
A: David Kaminsky, a Manhattan lawyer who specializes in landlord-tenant matters, said that if the landlady had genuinely incurred a cost, she would be entitled to recover the amount incurred due to the fault of the tenant. But absent a lease clause addressing the issue, the landlord cannot charge an arbitrary amount as a “lockout fee.”